Approachable, personable, passionate, understanding and an outstanding teacher — these are a few of the ways pharmacy students describe Lihui Yuan, the 2019-2020 University of Florida College of Pharmacy Teacher of the Year award winner.
While Yuan embraces many different roles and responsibilities as a UF College of Pharmacy faculty member, teaching is her real passion.
“I really love teaching. It is my dream job,” she said. “Whenever I attend a class lecture, I have a blueprint in my mind and I’m thinking how the material could be best structured to help students learn.”
Yuan has a three-part teaching philosophy: have a happy attitude, structure lessons effectively and mimic real practice environments. “You can tell she cares heavily about all of her students and wants each of us to succeed,” one student nominator said of Yuan.
Yuan, Ph.D., Pharm.D., took a non-traditional path to teaching at the university level. She earned a Ph.D. from the UF College of Medicine in 2005, but she always wanted to learn more about how drugs can improve a person’s health, so in 2012 she enrolled in the UF College of Pharmacy.
Now as a clinical lecturer in the department of pharmacodynamics, she puts her Ph.D. to good use, teaching pathophysiology, and her Pharm.D., helps her teach in the pharmacy skills lab. Additionally, she collaborates with associate professor Yan Gong, Ph.D., an associate professor of pharmacotherapy and translational research, on her cardio-oncology and pharmacogenomics research, and she works once a week in an anticoagulation clinic at UF Health.
Her peer faculty have noted she takes care to ensure alignment across multiple courses in the curriculum, communicates effectively with faculty and students and displays a commitment to quality improvement. She was instrumental in implementing a supplemental instructor program for the Pathophysiology & Patient Assessment I & II courses.
“Lihui Yuan has earned the respect and admiration from many faculty, staff and students in the UF College of Pharmacy,” said Julie Johnson, Pharm.D., dean and distinguished professor. “Her enthusiasm for teaching is on display every time she enters the classroom, and she is a worthy recipient of this year’s Teacher of the Year Award.”
In addition to being recognized at the University of Florida Teacher of the Year events and at the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy Annual Meeting, Yuan will also be provided discretionary funds from the Paul Doering Excellence in Teaching endowment and an honorarium. She will use the title “Paul Doering Teaching Excellence Professor,” during the upcoming academic year.
Exemplary Teacher Awards
Three faculty members won the Exemplary Teacher Award. These winners are Teacher of the Year finalists who were judged by the curriculum committee to have exemplary teaching as evidenced by a superior teaching portfolio.
John Allen, Pharm.D.
Though Allen, a clinical assistant professor in the department of pharmacotherapy and translational research, has been with the college a short time, students have recognized his dedication and approach to teaching. He has worked to reduce the perceived hierarchy between students and faculty by using an open-door policy and learning each student’s name. He has implemented teaching innovations such as gamification during active learning sessions and re-incorporated verbal defense into the new curriculum.
W. Cary Mobley, Pharm.D.
Mobley, a clinical associate professor in the department of pharmaceutics, is known for implementation of evidence-based education with a goal to result in long-term knowledge retention. He uses strategies like spaced learning and retrieval practices to help students connect with content regularly. Through the use of electronic flash cards he created for student use, he’s able to inspire students to engage in content in a fun way outside of class to help improve durability of their knowledge.
Karen Whalen, Pharm.D.
Whalen, an assistant dean and clinical professor in the department of pharmacotherapy and translational research, has provided leadership in teaching and learning to the faculty, but most importantly to the students. As course director for required and elective courses, including the leadership certificate, she captures students with her passion and enthusiasm and inspires them through a culture of mutual trust and respect. She sets high expectations to help students achieve more than they knew they were capable of.